What Distinguishes SIT’s MAT?

A View from SITHow is SIT Graduate Institute’s MA in Teaching different from the 500+ other language teacher education programs in the world?

Several distinctions are noted below. Each distinction is related to the integrity of the learner, of the teacher, and of the subject being taught. Throughout SIT’s teacher training, each of these are situated in their global context. This education invites the teacher to look inward as well as outward.

Teach for a Reason

Teaching language is more than building grammar and vocabulary. Language teachers make communication and understanding possible. They provide the most common starting point for learning about other cultures and other ways of being. SIT prepares its students to be effective teachers in the very best sense of the word.

Teach Effectively

For many, the opportunity to expand intercultural understanding comes from their first experience in a language class and with a language teacher. SIT prepares teachers who understand the globally critical role language plays in promoting effective communication and international understanding. SIT prepares teachers who help their students develop the ability to communicate and understand across differences.

Teach the Whole Person

Students learn best with teachers who respect them as individuals—people whose experiences and emotions, hopes, and fears all impact their learning. An SIT education starts by applying this philosophy to educating teachers. The MAT program recognizes each person as an individual and draws on the power of each person’s full experience as a source of learning. MAT students do more than learn about theory—they learn through experience. This approach to learning through reflecting on your own experiences and those of others engages much more than intelligence alone—it draws on the whole person.

Teach Reflectively

Through careful, structured inquiry into their own teaching, students can learn to continually improve what they do. Using a variety of tools and techniques, students can make effective use of experience—their own and their peers’—as a source of learning. The advanced practitioner of reflection is able to describe experience in detail and from multiple perspectives. Students extend their study of experience by analyzing it to gain understanding about themselves, their teaching, and their students. By using this new understanding, they can act with new awareness, reshaping the outcome and enabling further learning.

Teach Through Experience

This approach to learning pervades an SIT education. In the teaching methodology course, for instance, students not only read about methodologies but also experience learning with an authority in that method. Students then try out the method by teaching their peers, and reflect on their own growing understanding and those of others through class discussions, group projects, and individual papers. This cycle of experience, reflection, and experience takes place repeatedly in every class. Learning through experience is likewise the centerpiece of the MAT program. Building on the new understanding they have developed during the first term, together with tools of analysis and reflection, students extend their teaching practice in a classroom with the support and advice of an SIT supervisor. This period of teaching between terms encourages students to apply new ideas and enables them to develop their teaching in a community of professionals who understand their experience.

Work Toward Peace Through Understanding

In powerful and far-reaching ways, learning a new language broadens one’s ability to understand others. It provides access to new people, ideas, and views of the world—access to understanding while appreciating differences. When language is taught from this orientation of why it matters in the world—using experience as a foundation for learning—the teacher strengthens what is given to the student and to the profession. The best teachers are working toward peace in the world through their language teaching and through their students’ actions as they communicate more authentically with others and understand their world more fully.

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One Response to “What Distinguishes SIT’s MAT?”

  1. SIT INTERLINK Fellowship Details « MAT Admissions Says:

    […] MA in Teaching Principles and Distinctions […]

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